Mono County Sheriff’s Department personnel responded to a call from Inyo National Forest dispatch at about 6:25 p.m. on Thursday evening, Sept. 16, to assist in investigating a large black plume of smoke that appeared suddenly in the Glass Mountain Range. The smoke was believed to be from a reported overdue aircraft bound for Truckee, Calif., by way of Bishop. Units from the Mono County Sheriff’s Department, Inyo National Forest and the Mono County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team responded to the area and initiated a ground search.
At approximately 10:50 p.m., the pilot of the downed helicopter walked into the Benton Fire Department after hiking out of Taylor Canyon from the crash site. The pilot advised the fire department that his passenger was still at the crash site, suffering from extensive injuries. Mono County Paramedics and Care Flight were dispatched to the Taylor Canyon area. The female passenger and the aircraft wreckage were located in the McLaughlin Springs area. Both the pilot and his passenger were flown via Care Flight to Renown Medical Center in Reno, Nev., for treatment. No word is yet available on their current condition.
Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Jennifer Hansen said the names of the pilot and passenger are being withheld at this time, due to the ongoing investigation of the cause of the crash that is being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration. –MCSD/Sheet Staff